Foundational Movement Series: SQUAT

Posted by Jane Diack on

This week we explore the fourth foundational movement in the series, the Squat

The squat is considered one of the best functional exercises out there. The squatting movement is performed in everyday life tasks such as picking up objects off the floor, lifting or moving objects and is the basis for many sports movements.

Its ability to target multiple muscle groups makes it a great multi-purpose exercise in any training/rehab program. Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, whether stabilizing the core and gluteals or improving lower extremity mobility and strength. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more safely and efficiently.

Performing squats in the water has many advantages. Not only does the water assist with the reduced load but it also assists with increased proprioceptive feedback. This allows a much safer environment to challenge clients with balance issues.

When having your client perform a squat it is important to teach proper technique. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

I find if the client has their arms in front of them either holding the side of the pool or a device it is sometimes easier to feel and perform the exercise. This allows them to sit back and down without feeling like they are going to fall over.

Common compensations are for the knees to travel too far over the toes and or collapse medially and for uneven weight shift to occur.

People with limited mobility will tend to flex forward at the spine and not from hips as they squat. Make sure spine remains in lordosis and spinal angle and tibial angle remain parallel. Their shoulders,chest and head should also remain in good alignment and not round too far forward.

Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to perform this exercise appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take a few sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Chest Press With Squats:


In open stance position with knees slightly bent  and feet shoulder width apart and barbell in towards chest. Squat with pressure on heels as push barbell out. Stand and return to start position. Repeat sequence.


  • Sit Back and Down Keeping Pressure on Heels
  • Keep Core/Buttocks Tight
  • Keep Chest High and Good Upright Posture

Possible Compensations:

  • Knees too Far Over Toes
  • Uneven Weight Shift
  • Forward/Rounded Posture
  • Not Coordinating Upper and Lower Body

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